“All skill levels” by Julia on the 17

Saturday June 1, 2019
5 minutes
From a sign on the street

You want to be inclusive, right, whip your hands into a circle, knot them twice.
Everybody here holds hands.
We don’t care who you are or what “level” you think you’re at or on or what have you, but we all play on the same turf here, and that’s called Right Now.
Right Now doesn’t ask you where you’re from or if you think you’re a part of a special club. Right Now doesn’t care what you did or who you screamed at or what you wished for.
Right Now has no expectations because Right Now changes every second. Right Now knows you and your right now is changing too.
So grab a patch of palm from your neighbour from another neighbourhood and close your freaking eyes all the way to the bone.

“as the cells of his scalp” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday March 21, 2019
5 minutes
Tony Hoagland

Take out the trash to the bin in the garage. Wheel the bin to the curb. The neighbourhood is still sleeping. Mandy and the boys are still sleeping, too. Jacob was up in the night crying. Mandy went to him, and then came and got me. He was dreaming about monsters again. “No more scary movies,” Mandy whispered as we climbed back into bed forty minutes later. Thank God for the coffee maker, wooing me towards the kitchen when the alarm goes off. Thank God for coffee. Mrs. Henderson across the street in her quilted housecoat and winter boots. She waves.

“How are you holding up?” I say, and then regret breaking the silence, fracturing the stillness of this Wednesday morning.

“feel free to mix it up!” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 5, 2018
5 minutes
One Part Plant
Jessica Murnane

There is a new tenant who is keeping her own bees. She is a bee keeper and she lives in the corner apartment facing the gardens. I’ve seen her up there, watching, waiting for the bees. She’s not odd looking. I thought she would be odd looking but she’s not. I don’t know why I thought that. She’s normal. She’s cool even, she wears ripped jeans and converse sneakers. She has a braid that I’m not sure of its origins. I know it’s none of my business where her braid is born or whatever but she has one and it’s doing it’s own thing. Just like she is. Keeping her bees, watching her bees in the parking lot garden. Seducing lovers in front of the window cause her bees are busy building sexy hives and she can’t help it.
Okay maybe she’s not licking any clits because of her bees. I don’t know maybe that was going one step too far.

“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Sasha on her couch

Monday December 25, 2017
5 minutes
Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me
Charlotte Joyce Kidd

Heloise listens through the wall. Dan caught her twice last week so now she has to be much more stealthy.

“I’m going to the gym!” Dan calls, already half out the door, scarf pulled up over his nose.

“Bye, hon!” Heloise shouts back. She runs to the kitchen for a glass. She runs back upstairs and almost wipes out. Must get socks with grips on the bottom, she thinks. It’s not like she runs any other time.

She puts the glass to the wall. She can hear Liam typing. He must be writing again. Good for you, she smiles. Footsteps. He gets up. Maybe watering a plant? Maybe stretching? Writer’s block?

“wild horses” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday June 3, 2017
5 minutes
From the Microsoft home-screen

Huddled in the closet where your mother keeps bleach, baking soda, laundry detergent, you whisper in my ear that there’s something you need to show me.

I’m wearing purple shorts and a black T-shirt with Phantom of the Opera on it. You’re wearing jean shorts and a stained white hoodie.

“I ate a freezee in less than thirty seconds,” you’d told me earlier, referencing the orange drips. They look like tears, I’d thought, before running to the washroom to check if I’d peed a few drips – sisters.

It’s dark, except for the slit of light reaching under the door. You reach for the button of your shorts.

“helps clear the air of many toxins” by Sasha on her living room floor

Sunday March 26, 2017
5 minutes
From alive magazine

You watch the movement of hips and arms
muscles and bone
You can only see in once the sun has set
and that’s okay
You like it that way
You never thought yourself to be a watcher
like this but you find yourself
wondering if I’m there
eating roasted sweet potato from the pan
at the stove
You find yourself
wondering if I’m there
unpacking jars from a reusable
canvas carry bag
Washing dishes
Wiping the counter
Sat at the table laughing at my own jokes

“nasal congestion” by Julia at Grange Park

Friday, June 26, 2015
5 minutes
NETI: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda

I can hear her blow her nose through the wall. Thin ass walls, the realtor conveniently forgot to mention. My husband’s obsessed with her. Whenever he hears her go out onto her patio he somehow gets struck with an urgent need for”fresh air”. He goes out there so he can ogle her and imagine what colour her underwear is. He thinks he’s being so slick but I know what he’s doing. He just assumes I’m none the wiser because I don’t say anything. I guess I don’t quite know how I feel about it. Do I care? Do I even mind? When he goes outside for his fantasy time, I have the house to myself and I forget about him completely. It doesn’t even bother me when he goes out because that alone time feels so good. It’s when he comes back in I can’t stand: adjusting himself and quickly thinking of something to say that will convince him, and he thinks me, that he wasn’t just outside wishing he could stay there.

“Can you see anything?” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Saturday February 28, 2015
5 minutes
overheard at Amanda’s house

I begged Birdie to let me have a look but she told me I was being impatient and to show some courtesy. When I asked her what courtesy meant she shushed me so fast it sounded like a bullet was zooming right past my face. It was my idea in the first place to “borrow” uncle Ray’s ladder and creep up the side of the fence. Birdie didn’t trust me with being the first set of eyes on Old Annabel Winkler because she was convinced I wouldn’t be able to
control my laughter and I’d give away our hiding spot in seconds. Then she got up there and all she was saying was “ooh” “woah” “oh my gosh” and “no way!”

“For the Canadian Girl!” by Julia at Parco Delle Energie in Rome

Sunday September 14, 2014
5 minutes
From a note from a new friend

When the light in the room was enough to make out who was who but not distinguish any defined features, we traded partners after the daze of wine had begun to take shape, and the after effects of the powder we dropped into our glasses started to tingle our skin. I had wanted him from the beginning but I never let on because it felt unfair to her. She had no idea that he had wanted me too, so I pretended not to notice that our looks across the pool the night before had lasted longer than they maybe should have. Tonight when it was her idea, in love with the drug and the moonlight giving her courage, none of us said no for fear of complicating an easy reward. We moved slowly, finally to each other’s lover and sat slowly down beside the new arms and legs, the new heartbeat, the new pulse. She wanted mine and I wanted hers. I always always wanted hers.

“Income tax services” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going East

Sunday May 25, 2014
5 minutes
A sign on Queen St. West

The shit hit the fan when we were playing scrabble. Ben heard from his Mom on Wednesday that they wouldn’t be going up to the cabin that weekend and would we like to go. Would we like to go? Um. YES! We would. We did. We borrowed their car. We packed bags, we got on the highway before rush hour, we ate chocolate covered coffee beans so that we would stay up longer relaxing once we got there. It was going to be the best weekend of our spring, heck! Of our lives. When we arrived, there was a note on the door from the neighbour. “What neighbour?” I asked, looking around, instantly worried about the jeopardizing of my plan for porch sex and pretty constant nudity. “Burns,” Ben said, all nonchalant. “Burn?” I repeated, trying my best not to get edgy but recognizing that this might be challenging given the amount of coffee beans I ate. “Burns”, as if that’s even his name, wrote, “Problems with the sceptic tank. Call me.” Ben took out his phone. No signal. “Who’s Burns? What’s a sceptic tank?!” I was getting clinically hysterical. Ben said, “Please chill out. Go for a walk or something,” and left me there, while he went over to Burns’ place to talk toilets and water pressure.

“how desolate the landscape can be” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday May 11, 2013
5 minutes
Naomi Shihab Nye

I’ve got flea bites all over my back, localized around my spine, as if the little buggers paddled down that bone-river, pillaging as they went. I run out of my room, glancing each way, hoping no one decides to escape the peace of their bedrooms, or to go for a glass of grapefruit juice, at this very moment. I look at my naked back-body in the long mirror in the hall. Quick. There are probably over thirty bites, each one a tiny monument of reddish-pink sadness. What a metaphor. What a reality. I had decided to liberate Bijou and allow her to be an Outdoor Cat. It took lots of leashed visits to the park and to the Variety Store for sour candy or cinnamon gum. She’d gone out on her own for the first time last Tuesday. I watched her with my binoculars, usually reserved for moon-gazing, as she ventured into the neighbours yard and then into a bush, out of my sight. I spent the rest of the afternoon praying and teary. She came in at dinnertime, when I called her, strutting like she was a saucy lady of the night. Bijou had never had fleas before. She was one of those poised and prissy felines, I’d even trained her to use the toilet with one of those kits you can buy online.

“become a woman of much consequence.” by Julia on the 511 going south

Sunday, January 20, 2013
5 minutes
Arnold Bennett

And then I said to her, “no Mom, I don’t care about pulling the sheet tight to fold it under. It’s the 21st century, nobody cares about that stuff anymore, you’re super anal and fuck you!” It was like, the ultimate moment of freedom. Okay so I didn’t say that last part, because I would have gotten the shots. Like five across the eye maybe, that’s what I think she’d give me. But I really wanted her to know that I was pissed off. First of all she made me late for board game night at Darren’s house, and second off, she totally embarrassed me in front of Marti, our neighbour, because my window was open, and Marti is always dinking around right below it as if she’s gardening or something like that. So when I looked out to see if she was there, right after my mom had yelled at me about the stupid sheets, she was looking up at me, like eavesdropping all over the place. I felt so dumb. Should have closed the window. I just don’t see why these olden day rituals need to be done in like, today’s society. Girls don’t need to learn to make beds and I’m sorry, but it doesn’t mean that we are bad, or messy, or whatever, if we don’t. We don’t have time! Oh yeah, and I also said to my Mom, right before she left, I said, “I don’t need to make the bed if I’m just going to mess it up again anyway!” Now that I really said.